For visa applications, it is recommended to consult the relevant governmental advice.
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Applying for a graduate program:
To apply for a Master or a PhD degree in the USA, you should have completed a bachelor’s degree or equivalent qualification from an internationally recognized institution (official translation of transcripts and/or certification of degree equivalency are often requested). Along with your degree certificate, you will also typically need to provide:
- Letters of recommendation (one to three);
- Candidate’s statement or Statement of purpose outlining your aspirations and demonstrating your suitability for the course;
- Research proposal or Statement of research interests;
- GRE General Test and/or the GRE Subject Test relevant to your field;
- Proof of proficiency in English if you are not a native speaker (e.g. TOEFL or IELTS – you should check with the University you’re applying to if they request a specific test)
Some schools may request financial support documents (such as official bank statements or scholarship letters). You should also be prepared for an interview (by phone) in which you’ll discuss your research interests and aims.
An overview of US application process and useful weblinks are available here.
While you are selecting your university, you need to check whether the program/ university you are applying to is recognized according to the Ministry of Higher Education in Ramallah, Palestine. In case it is not, your transcripts will not be equalized and certified, hence you will not be able to work with your degree locally in that case.
The GRE is aimed at prospective graduate students to assess their suitability for graduate programs. The General Test has three parts, assessing verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and analytical writing. Some departments may require you to take one of the GRE Subject Tests, which assess your knowledge in a particular field. The general test GRE currently costs US$205.00. Note that this price includes sending the of the scores for up to four graduate institutions, and you will have to pay an extra fee for each score you want to send.
You can take the GRE examination after you register online in the Amideast Ramallah Test Center or in the Amideast center in Gaza (which offers the examination three times in a year, in February, October and November).
TOEFL results are accepted as proof of English language proficiency in countries where this is needed to obtain a visa. The test fee varies depending on location, usually ranging from US$170 to US$220. It is also the most commonly accepted test for Universities in the USA.
You can take the TOEFL in the amideast centers, which also provide courses to help you preparing for it. Various study resources, including free sample questions, can be also found on TOEFL’s official website.
For information on the IELTS test see our UK advice page.
Tuition fees at US universities are often high. While private universities tend to charge higher fees, public universities usually have lower rates. Because all US universities are legally required to include their fees and a financial aid calculator on their websites, you may benefit from these tools to estimate how much your intended course of study would cost, and what funding you may be eligible for. Depending on where you choose to study, the cost of living is likely to vary greatly. South and Midwest are generally less expensive, while big cities in the West and East Coasts will cost considerably more.
US government aid and loans are often not available to international students. Therefore, you may seek for funding from your chosen university and/or other organizations. Scholarships and grants may be awarded based on financial need, academic achievements and/or other talents, and may also take into account factors relating to your background and field of study.
Online sources of scholarships and financial aid:
International students will need to obtain an F-1 non-immigrant visa. You can only apply for this after securing a place at an approved university. You’ll also need to provide proof of sufficient funds to cover your costs over the course’s duration and a confirmation that you’ll leave the country once your studies are over. Some exchange programs may also accept the J-1 visa. Typically Universities have International Offices that will assist accepted students in the visa application, and you should contact them for all relevant details.
You must bring the necessary supporting documentation to your visa appointment, such as college acceptance letter, proof of payment of SEVIS fee, passport, I-20 Form and appropriate financial documentation. Required documents depend on the country, so it is recommended that you check with the U.S. Consulate or embassy to determine what you need before your appointment.
Palestinian applicants can find the application form here. After submitting the application, you need to pay the visa fees (approx. $156) in order to be able to schedule an appointment here .
The appointments for all Palestinians (Gaza and West Bank) are held in the US Embassy in Jerusalem, so you need to plan ahead and request a travel permit. If your visa is approved to be processed, you will get it within 7-10 workings days and you can choose the location you want your visa to be sent to.
If you’re interested in working alongside your studies in order to cover your expenses, be aware that, while you hold F-1 visa status, you are only allowed to work at the College (e.g., teacher assistant; no more than 20 hours a week). Any other employment is considered unauthorized and is a violation of your visa status.